Sponsor banner

Sharing the difficult stuff can help you move forward

Talking about what’s happening is a valuable way to lessen your pain

Access to this AJC content is brought to you by our sponsor, Wellstar

When things aren’t going well in your world, are you the kind of person who talks about it, or do you push down your discomfort to try to avoid thinking about your problems and feeling bad?

Research has shown us that people who repress their feelings usually have a harder time dealing with life’s disappointments. In addition, holding in painful emotions has been linked to illness and emotional distress. It also sucks up a lot of time that could be used for much more pleasant activities.

Some people have great difficulty dealing with disappointment, and when additional things in life are troublesome, like problems in your relationship, those issues become magnified. That rush of emotions can easily throw anyone off course. The trick here is to concentrate on what stabilizes you and to talk about your troubles with the people in your life who care about you. They are usually readily available to talk, especially when they know that their emotional support will help you during a challenging time.

Talking about what’s happening is really one of the most valuable things you can do to move your life forward and lessen your pain. It is also a true gift of friendship and love. When you take the risk of putting yourself out there to someone you trust, most often you’ll find yourself rewarded with some relief and perhaps some new ways of dealing with a problem.

Truly, if you feel there’s no one who will listen to what’s going on in your life, no friend with whom you can talk about your difficulties, it is time you found someone. You can go to a licensed counselor or other helping professional. The hardest part may be picking up the phone and making an appointment.

Sometimes you want a different kind of emotional support, and that’s perfectly fine. But whatever, you do, don’t pour your heart out to a bartender. Finding a good support group would be much better. In that context, you’ll find other people dealing with similar issues, and you won’t feel judged or alone.

Along these lines, when you share your feelings, it’s best to do it sober, because you will be unable to purge the pain if you’re intoxicated. Alcohol is a drug that numbs your feelings, and using alcohol (or drugs) is not a lifestyle that will keep you healthy and feeling good about your world. Talking about your troubles over a glass of wine may seem like a good idea, but it really only works in the movies.

Unburdening your head and heart, simply talking about what’s going on inside you, may be something you have thought of doing for some time but have been reluctant to try. Please consider how much you can lighten your life and the lives of those around you by using your words to gain clarity and release your pain. Give yourself that gift.

Barton Goldsmith, Ph.D. is an award-winning psychotherapist and humanitarian. He is also a columnist, the author of eight books, and a blogger for PsychologyToday.com with nearly 35 million readers. He is available for in-person and video consults world-wide, reach him at Barton@BartonGoldsmith.com

About the Author